Louisville Man Nominated for Garbage Truck Driver of the Year
That amounts to 222 million tons and one Louisville man who handles more of that rubbish than almost anyone.
You can call him the Wizard of Waste. The Duke of Dreck. The Captain of Crud. But "garbage man" is what Greg Blaylock has been for Rumpke Waste, going on 17 years.
But only now has he been named a national semi-finalist as Driver of the Year by the Environmental Industries Association. It's to solid waste what the Oscars are to the movies.
Blaylock says, "I prefer to be outside. The environment. Sounds crazy, but I'd rather be outside, and it's a pretty good job."
Even in a pricey, well-cared-for neighborhood like Hurstbourne it's cold and icy in the wintertime, hot, sweaty and fly-infested in the summertime.
"Keeps you in shape physically. Mentally it drains you," he says. "By the time you get done, end of the day, the stress of driving -- not getting your route picked up, not taking care of the customers."
Those customers, though, seem to love Greg's work.
Judy Fleck says, "These two guys who are on this truck are absolutely wonderful. They're polite, they'll help you -- if I've got something heavy, they'll help me lift it and -- they're dependable -- they're just great!"
Every day the average American throws away 4.6 pounds of trash. And not all of it smells very good, either.
What's the worst kind of can for Greg Blaylock?
"Dog doo-doo!" he says. "That stuff can smell -- especially when it gets hot outside. I mean, you pull that lid off and it'll take your head -- smell will just knock you back."
On this day, Greg's working with LeShon Vaughn.
The two of them operate like a football quarterback and wide receiver.
Blaylock says, "It is a partnership -- he looks out for me, and I look out for him."
It can get hazardous out here.
"Glass flying out, poison, people got bug spray, stuff like that's very dangerous," Blaylock says. "People don't realize, throw half a can in, we go to smash it, it could spray out, get in your eyes, lungs, make you sick."
Our status-conscious world might not respect a job like trash collector. But Greg Blaylock is a Guru of Garbage, and proud of doing his job well:
Blaylock says, "It used to, long time ago, used to bother me -- people looked down on me. But now, I just hold my head high and go on. It don't bother me a bit. It's an adventure! Every day's an adventure out here, I'm telling you. I'm not lying!"
Blaylock was recommended for the Driver of the Year honor by the mayors of Thornhill and Northfield and the City Manager of Hurstbourne.
The award is for upholding solid waste management as an honorable occupation and operating in a safe and responsible manner.